Online Colleges That Give Credit For Life Experience

The way we learn is changing. The traditional classroom experience isn’t for everyone, and there are many successful professionals who didn’t complete a degree in college. If you’re looking for a way to customize your education and gain credit for life experience, there are ways to earn credits without ever setting foot in a classroom!

Online Colleges That Give Credit For Life Experience

Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University is a public, nonprofit university that offers more than 200 online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It has been named one of the top online colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report for eight years running.

The school offers programs in business administration, information technology, education and human services to name a few.

Excelsior College

  • Excelsior College offers an extensive range of online degree programs. These include associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, as well as master’s and doctoral programs.
  • The college is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and its teaching methods are based on the principles of adult learning theory.

Charter Oak State College

Charter Oak State College offers online degrees, but it also offers credit for life experience. If you have a degree, certificate or license in your field of study and want to earn an advanced degree quickly, Charter Oak State College might be the right choice for you.

Students can earn college credits by taking CLEP exams—which measure knowledge rather than time spent in school—or DSST exams (Deptartment of Defense Standardized Tests). These tests are offered at more than 2,200 locations worldwide and require no application fee.

If you have military experience that is equivalent to an undergraduate education at a regionally-accredited university or college and want to apply those credits toward an associate’s degree from Charter Oak State College, go ahead! They’ll accept both classes taken during active duty as well as those from previous service members through the ACE program (Armed Services Certificate Program).

Free credit at StraighterLine

StraighterLine is an online college that offers free credit for life experience. The company offers over 150 courses and more than 1,200 individual classes, which means you have a wide range of options to choose from. Courses are taught by some of the best professors in the country, and there are no enrollment fees—not even textbooks! Students who take five StraighterLine courses are eligible to earn up to 30 credits toward their degree program.

This is a great option if you’re looking for an easy way to earn college credits without paying any tuition fees or having to travel back-and-forth between your home and campus every day.

CLEP testing

CLEP testing is a standardized test that you can take to earn credit. CLEP tests are offered in more than 30 subjects and are accepted by more than 2,900 colleges and universities.

CLEP tests are available at more than 2,900 testing centers across the United States and U.S. Territories, Puerto Rico and Canada. If you don’t live near one of these locations, you may be able to find a local proctor who will administer your test for you (for a fee).

In some cases, CLEP exams cost very little—or even nothing at all! For example:

  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) – $80-$100 per exam
  • Applyling for financial aid before taking a CLEP exam? Some schools will waive their application fees if you’re only taking one or two tests with them during the year; ask around!


Sophia is an online university that offers a wide range of degrees and certificates, from associate’s to doctorate. Students can earn credits for life experience through its Pathway to Success program, which allows learners to earn college credit for work, military service and other qualifying experiences by taking tests on their knowledge.

Sophia is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), a private nonprofit association that recognizes distance education institutions based on their quality standards. DEAC also reviews programs offered at these schools to ensure they meet their established guidelines in order to maintain accreditation status.

With a small student-to-faculty ratio of less than 15:1 and flexible schedules available in seven week blocks or full semesters (starting every three months), this school offers students the ability to learn at their own pace while still being supported by faculty members who are dedicated not only to your success but also want you to succeed!

You may be able to fulfill your degree requirements without ever setting foot in a classroom.

  • Start by taking a look at your current personal and professional experiences.
  • Decide what you would like to study, and what you hope to do with that degree once you have one.
  • Check out the educational options available from colleges in your area or online, including:
  • Universities and community colleges offering degrees in your area of interest
  • Online programs designed for working adults
  • If you’re not sure about any of these options, contact the college admissions office directly for more information about their admissions requirements, course offerings, credentials needed for admission (such as ACT score), fees associated with attending their institution (including tuition rates), etc…


If you’re looking for a way to earn college credit without taking classes, there are many options available. Consider these online colleges that give credit for life experience and see if they meet your needs.

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